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After all that priming, it wasn’t hard to move onto the next phase of this little project—conditioning. 

His aim had never been to recruit James Bond, 007, into his ranks. Not at all. No matter how good and capable he was at his job, there had never been any point in hiring someone whom you couldn’t really trust. (Besides, he had all the money in the world to hire any number of other necessary, competent people anyway.)

No, the only thing he had ever actually thought about doing was this: tearing Bond down to the last shred of his human defences, clipping his wings until they could no longer rise back from the ruins of their remains and robbing him of his ever infamous, so-called ‘immortal’ status. 

It was like caging the proverbial phoenix, and the thing was that Blofeld had neither any need nor want for this sort of exotic bird—for Bond, the British SIS agent.

What he had always wanted was James, the boy who’d come barging into his home one day all those years ago and demanded him, initially, to share—share his father, his room, his space, his books…

His attention.

“Well,” Blofeld hummed, perching on the edge of a table, and smiled when glassy blue eyes flickered up to look at him almost quizzically at the sudden sounding of his voice in the quiet space, “you have your wish now, James.”

Blofeld looked down to observe the crooked fingers on James’s hands, hallmarks of bones being broken and improperly reset for too many times, blinking slowly for a few times before picking it up on a whim.

He repressed a small huff of amused breath when said fingers curled around his own in a near involuntary action. Very willingly so.

Once upon a time (not too long ago, in fact), this very same hand would’ve gladly pulled the trigger on him and shot him dead where he stood.

“How’s your cane?” he asked, eyeing the wood-carved thing that had been specifically designed to never truly balance. 

James’s brow scrunched up for a moment, either trying to process what had just been asked of him or working up a coherent enough response to it, then croaked out one hoarse, single, “Good.”

And really, Blofeld wouldn’t know. He didn’t come by to visit too often and only checked up on this small, sometimes bothersome side project from time to time, enough to be able to grasp generally what was going on.

(One of these days, he’d probably grow bored of this little game. Grow bored of the anticipatory way James would, every now and then, stare at the door to his holding cell as though waiting for someone. Grow bored of the way those eyes would undoubtedly light up upon seeing the only other human being who had the free capability of granting him a close, intimate touch. (Such was the downfall of a sociable animal.)

And when that day came, it’d be mildly interesting to see where exactly he should throw this little boy of his away—on the steps of MI6, or just some random city on a map to see if anyone else would actually ever find him.)

“Do well with your walking exercise,” Blofeld said, watching James watch the way he was stroking the back of James’s hand, “then perhaps we’ll see to it that you can have a stroll around the greenhouse.”

Not quite a likely scenario, unless he changed his mind, but well…

The false hope that it lit in the upward curl of James’s lips was nothing short of exquisite.